‘Suzukagawa’: a kaleidoscope of sake,
a kaleidoscope of tastes
Colourful, sumptuous patterns of Ise-katagami proudly decorate our bottles of Suzukagawa sake.
The traditional industry of Suzuka, Ise-katagami has supported the beautiful kimono culture of the Japanese people since ancient times. In wearing this splendorous tradition of Suzuka, it is our hope that our Suzukagawa sake will make Suzuka proud – and, just as each style of Ise-katagami has its own unique charm, that there is a Suzukagawa sake that anyone can enjoy, whatever their taste.
Always flowing freely, a sake
as cherished as the Suzuka River
Soft, clear water from the steep Suzuka mountain
range, rice from the bountiful Ise Plain – Suzuka is
blessed with an ideal natural environment for sake brewing.
Now some 150 years old, our brewery was founded
in Suzuka in 1869. The Suzuka River (‘Suzukagawa’
in Japanese), always freely flowing, has always been
an indispensable part of our lives. Named after the
river, we brew our ‘Suzukagawa’ sake with all of
our heart and soul, in the hope that it is cherished as
much as the precious waterway that has sat at the
centre of our community since ancient times.
Ise, where the toji tradition
In the Edo period, many of the sake breweries in Ise
were run by local toji (master brewers). For
instance, Tomoshichi Hoshino taught sake brewing to
the Akita Satake Clan in 1865, working to improve
the brewing process. Later, a large group of toji,
known as the Nagano Toji, was formed, laying the
foundations for the famous Akita brewery in Tohoku.
In short, the Ise toji have long been trailblazers.
With modern technology, sake-making has of course
evolved since then. Cooling and mechanical systems
mean we can now brew all year round. Employing
our brewers to work 12 months of the year, our toji
and other brewery staff are always sharpening their
senses and intuition, seeing things they couldn’t see
yesterday. In this way, we hope to improve our sake
each and every day. Learning from the traditions of
our ancestors, the modern Ise toji continues to
develop the craft of brewing.
Suzuka, where intricate
Ise-katagami and the DNA
of craftsmanship live on
The pattern used on the packaging of Suzukagawa
is from Ise-katagami, a traditional craft of paper
cutting local to Suzuka, with those stencils then
used to dye beautifully patterned textiles.
Ise-katagami, once renowned across Japan, was
produced in a wide variety of designs for
customers across the nation. In the 19th century
Ise-katagami was brought to Europe, where it
quickly captured the imagination of the locals, and
is said to have influenced art movements such as
Art Nouveau. The production of attractive
stencils requires not only skill and design, but also
a passion for one’s craft. The very same is true of
sake brewing. We sincerely hope the labels on our
Suzukagawa sake can serve to widen the appeal
of Suzuka’s artisanal crafts.